New Literacy Funds Coming Soon: Striving Readers Grant

Grace Stopani
Grace Stopani
8 Sep
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This fall, the U.S. Department of Education will announce 5-10 State Education Agencies that have been awarded the $190 million Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant. In the 2011 competition, 35 states applied, but only six were funded: Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The Striving Readers grant focuses on advancing literacy skills for all children from birth through grade 12, with a special emphasis on disadvantaged children. A “disadvantaged child” is one who is at risk of educational failure or is otherwise in need of special assistance and support, including a child living in poverty, a child with a disability, or a child who is an English learner.

Distribution of funds.
Each awarded State will subgrant at least 95% of funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in 3-year grants. Applicants with greater number or percentages of disadvantaged children must be prioritized. States’ distribution of grant funds must conform to the following:

  • 15% of funds to serve children from birth through age five
  • 40% for K-5 students
  • 40% for grade 6-12 students, with an equitable distribution between middle and high schools.

Evidence requirements.
To apply for Striving Reader funds, LEAs must conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to inform a high-quality local literacy plan. A new requirement for the 2017 competition is that applicants must propose professional development and interventions supported by strong or moderate evidence. According to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), “strong” evidence means at least one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study found that the intervention or activity had statistically significant effect on literacy outcomes. “Moderate” evidence refers to quasi-experimental study results.

Our new website,, makes it easy for school districts to see how studies conducted on Pearson curriculum align to ESSA’s evidence requirements. The research is ongoing, so additional programs will be added as the studies are finalized.

Because ESSA’s evidence requirements are new to school districts, we’ve also created one-page “Evidence Explained” summaries for all programs meeting strong, moderate or promising evidence. These are available under “Research Study” on the right column of the chart.

To learn more about Striving Readers, visit:


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